help me find a univsersity in america

I’m an Australian uni student, and I’m thinking about going on exchange to America. Thinking, as in, ohmygodisowantto,nowwherecanigethemoney???

So I’ve been looking around at the universities that my uni has programs set up with (I pay cheaper Australian fees, instead of expensive US ones) and I went to the open day where all the universities sold themselves, and I’ve looked at pamphlets and gone to all the websites, and I’m really excited and it seems totally cool, but I have no idea where to go.

Hence this thread.

The big problem I’m finding is that there is always some magazine that will say X University is in the top ten Universities that do X. It’s a bit hard to get reasonable information, because they’re all trying to sound like they’re the best uni ever.

Now, I’m going on exchange cause I reckon this would be the best way to see America. And I’d love to see America. So, of course, I want a good university, but just as important is that it’s in a good location where I can get around and see a lot of stuff, and have a good time while I’m there. For instance, one of the ones on my list, University of Arkansas, is in Fayetteville, which seems to be a long way from anywhere and hence, doesn’t offer me as much opportunity to get around and see stuff as say, University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, which is close to DC and lots of other exciting east coast things.

Some information:

I like cities. I’ve accepted that the college town seems to be a strong part of the American college experience, and I think I could cope with something a little less urban if there are reasonably large cities in the area that I can visit. I’m open to both, but I’d prefer to live in a city.

I like liberal areas. It probably doesn’t matter; college environments are pretty liberal anywhere, right, but I just know I’ll be more comfortable in a liberal environment.

I don’t want to go anywhere hot. I’ve lived in hot Australian weather for all my life, never had a proper winter and I’d like to see snow and leaves fall off trees and all that sort of thing (I intend to go northern Fall Semester '04).

I’m doing a Communications degree, doing a double-major in Journalism and Media Production (focusing on Video).

Given that, I’ve narrowed my options down to a short list of:

Buffalo State
University of Kansas
Ohio University
University of Pittsburgh
University of Virginia

with some maybes:

Clemson University
Juniata College
Western Washington University

I’m having different reactions to all of these. KU seems to be a really pretty campus, and they gave me heaps of pamphlets and stuff, and it seems to be a really cool university. However, apart from Kansas City, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot in the area, so I’m kind of split on this. Ohio seems to be a good Journalism uni, which is a big plus, and has a lot of cities reasonably close by. Pitt and Buffalo State are both in cities, which I like, but I don’t know what the cities of Pittsburgh and Buffalo are like. Pittsburgh keeps trying to tell me that it has shaken off its industrial past, but I don’t know whether to believe it. Buffalo seems a little depressed and rundown, but should I believe this? Charlottesville mentiones a Thomas Jefferson connection about fifty million times on their webpage, but does this necessarily mean that they’re a good school?

Anyway, sorry to be so long, but i’d really appreciate any advice I could get on these unis, or the area they’re in or the weather or absolutely anything.


The other options I’ve got are: U of Arizona, U of Arkansas, Clarkson, Iowa State, U of New Mexico, U North Carolina at Wilmington, Northern Arizona U, U Northern Iowa, U of South Carolina, Virginia Tech. I’ve pretty much counted these out, but if there are any reasons why I really should think about any of these, tell me. For instance, with the ones in the Carolinas, I’m worried that it’ll be too mild, and I won’t get any proper weather. Yup, thanks, again.

:rolleyes: I’m really showing off my great education. No capitalisation and a spelling mistake in the title. Well done me.

I know nothing about your first choices, but a little about the fine print :slight_smile:

University of Arizona is an hour from Tucson and an hour to Mexico. It is wonderful as far as student life, lots of activities and a GREAT communications department. My best friend from HS is there now and loves it. She has her own radio show and everything :slight_smile: But it is terribly hot in the day and freezing in the night. If the heat is a dealbreaker, don’t go there.

University of Arkansas is in the middle of nowhere. I mean, there are cities, but there are none that are terribly fascinating. Friend is there currently studying anthropology and theology, but has become much less liberal since studying there, if that says anything about it.

I vote for Arizona. Hell, I want to go there!

The University of Virginia is considered one of the best public universities in the country. It’s hard to get in (if you’re from the U.S.) and many people from outside of Virginia try to go there. It’s an excellent school and Charlottesville is very charming, with ready access to Washington DC and other cities up and down the coast. It has the benefits of being in the South (nice weather, friendly people) but is pretty cosmopolitan and attracts people from all over (some Hollywood celebrities have settled there, for example).

And yes, UVa is very proud of its connection to Mr Jefferson.

I think in overall reputation, it’s the best school among those on your list.

But then, if no one in Australia knows the difference, maybe the whole prestige thing isn’t so important. I mean, of course you don’t want to go somewhere crappy, but all of the schools you mentioned are fine.

If you want cities, I’d say U of Pittsburgh (and yes, it really HAS shaken off its industrial past – although residents can probably tell you more) and U of Virginia are your best bets.

Ohio University is near cities – but is in a VERY small town on the Ohio River with absolutely nothing to do. My ex went there, so I’ve been there a number of times, and it’s a long way from there to anywhere exciting. (I do not include Columbus, Ohio in my definition of “exciting.”)

Buffalo will have you literally hip deep in snow ALL winter. It’s in the “snow belt” east of the Great Lakes, where the prevailing winds blow storms eastward and they pick up moisture, and starting at the east side of Cleveland going eastward the snows just get deeper and deeper and deeper. Six feet of snow is not uncommon there. That’s probably more than you want to have to learn to deal with for your first winter. :eek:

Kansas is like the outback, only with a bit of grass. A long way from EVERYWHERE.

Virginia, definitely. D.C. is a wonderful area, full of lots of interesting things for tourists of all ages. And it’s a beautiful part of the country. If I were you, I’d definitely choose Virginia. YMMV, of course.

P. S. Did I mention my friend at University of Arizona did her research when she was trying to find a school for her, and chose Arizona as her top choice among all reasonably priced schools in the country for her education in film production and journalism?

Yeah. Arizona. :smiley:

One thing I don’t see you mention is just what type of American experience you want. Like Australia, the US is HUGE. You’re going to get a VERY different experience depending on where you end up. Here’s some very general guildlines:

East Coast (NY, Wash DC, Boston, etc.): Close proximities to big cities; lots of history; Urban culture; crowds; ethnic stuff; expensive

Midwest (Chicago, Pittsburgh, Ohio, north into Minnesota & WI, etc.): Some city stuff, depending on where you end up; lots of Industry; some very, very nice liberal mid-size towns, some scary not-so-liberal towns; more space; less expensive; some cities that are less than great

West & Southwest (Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, etc.): The classic movie “out west” experience; Some pretty nice cities (Denver, Santa Fe); wide open spaces, beautiful mountain scenery; medium crowded; generally nice weather; not too expensive

West Coast (California, Washington, Oregon, etc): The “California” thing; warm weather & sunshine; ocean; can be expensive; cool cities (San Francisco, LA, Seattle); very crowded;

Seeing as there’s really great universities in ALL these areas, I’d do some thinking on just where you want to live. You mentioned you’d like somewhere where it’s not so hot, and you’d like to see leaves turn and all that. Given that, I’d stay away from Southern California and Arizona. New England would be great for what you talk about (Vermont, especially), just about anywhere in the Northern midwest, and Colorado & Northern New Mexico would also do.

As an aside - have you thought about University of Colorado in Boulder? You’d get a really nice liberal town to live in, 40 minutes to a fairly large city (Denver), all around good weather that includes some snow and fall foliage without going overboard, and gorgeous mountains right out your front door.

I was going to plu UVa but I see Cranky has beaten me to it. I ended The College of William & Mary*, another top school within the Virginia “state system” (meaning state-funded universities.)

Charlottesville is charming and the very epitome of what people think of when they think “College Town.” It is extremely historic itself as well as being in the center of a large number of other places important to early American history. If you’re into that you will be blissed out at UVa (PS that’s U-V-A, not you-vahhh). It is situated in the incredibly beautiful Blue Ridge mountains not too far from Shenandoah National Park, one of America’s great National parks. If you like the mountains and camping, yeah baby! It has a “sort of” winter. It gets cold and the leaves fall. It might snow once or twice. But nothing like Buffalo (you might find the weather there more than a little shocking).

Hey, have you ever seen “The Grinch who Stole Christmas?” Some people people that Who-ville is Charlotesville (one of its nicknames is Hooville, something about Wahoos, I dunno, And Dr. Suess used to live in that area.)

A few warning notes: Compared to some parts of Virginia, UVa is very liberal. Compared to say, San Francisco, it is quite conservative. :slight_smile: It is probably more than a couple hours drive to DC proper, not something most people do in a weekend.

*“Alma Mater of a Nation”

OMg could I have more typos in that post? Shameful.

Anyway in the last line I meant to say its not something people do every weekend.

University of Pittsburgh is a great school, in a great city. In terms of the city itself, it has shaken off its industrial past, in the area you’ll be living (I’m assuming you would either live in the dorms, or want to live nearby off campus). The area surrounding the campus is very lively (lots of college students… U of Pitt, Carnegie Mellon, Carlow, Chatham, to name a few!) and has a wide array of things. The bus system is fantastic (free for students with a Pitt ID), and it’s an easy shot to the airport using it.

That being said … Pitt is a very large school, and probably not your best bet if you’re looking for a quiet, low-key dorm experience. They’re crowded, filled with drunk people, and from what I hear, unpleasant (I lived off campus). Pitt is also becoming extraordinarily competitive and will continue to do so (father is VP at a regional campus and mum teaches at the same, so I get the insider info :slight_smile: - but if you aren’t accepted to the main campus, two years at a regional with a GPA over 2.8 gets you automatically in at “Big Pitt”, and they actually provide a really good starting point if main isn’t an option.

If you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to answer… feel free to e-mail - I was there for quite some time, and am planning to return to finish my degree next year.

Umm, no. Actually, the University of Arizona is not an hour from Tucson. It is IN Tucson. Trust me, I grew up in Tucson. It is an hour from Mexico, though. Two hours from Phoenix (where Arizona State is), 8 hours from San Diego and about 10 hours from L.A. (If I remember right). It’s not a bad location if you want to see a lot. It’s a beautiful state, too. It is going to be mild, so if you want to experience a “true winter” then maybe it’s not a good bet. On the other hand, Tucson is at the base of the Catalina Mountains and within 45 minutes (depending on where in Tucson you start out from) you can be up in a pine forest, near the southern-most ski area in the US). Gotta love it…

Cricket, former Tucsonan

Pitt! come to Pitt!

Seriously, I’m currently at Pitt. (Posting from the computer lab in the engineering building actually.) The city is amazing! (Well, make sure you stop by NYC to get a truly amazing city experiance, but as cities go, its a nice one.) The public transport system is free with your student ID, along with admission to several museums and things. The city itself really isn’t the dark dirty place it was as a steel town. It still has marks of it, but it has taken its past and made it full of life. for instance, one of the best hang out/date night places is called The Waterfront. When I shoed up it was a strip of land on the river that used to be some industrial crap site. In the last four years it has put up a movie theater, lots of stores, lots of resturants and is really an attraction.

Its a city campus, so it can be pretty hectic if you’re the type who needs trees and things to concentrate. But its also a short walk away from a huge park, and laying on the grass in front of the cathedral is at least a bit of green. You probably won’t get a real winter, by my definition, but I’m from Michigan.

Like any large school, Pitt is what you make of it. If you get involved with the arts people or the honors college it can be a pretty small family. If you choose to get sloshed every night at Hemmigways, well, you will find people wiling to be there with you.

I had one good year in the dorms and one bad year. So far off campus, I’ve had one good year and one bad year. (Two degrees, five years. I don’t see much of Hemmingways, and its still going to take five years.)

I know someone else has already made this offer, but if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me. Also, make sure you get in touch with Doc Stewart, the dean of the honors college, he’s the best guy to know to do anything.

Are you limited to the schools that you’ve listed?

I can’t vouch for any of the schools since I have no knowledge of them (except for geography and climate) and i’m not in the journalism/media field. I’m not sure how much that matters if you’re merely transfering units. Based on your desired criteria however, combined with a few other considerations like reputation, I’d recommend Univ of Virginia as well.

Otherwise, first school I’d recommend is UC Berkeley or a school in the Northern California Bay Area. It is:

(1) in a small city very close to a larger city (San Francisco);
(2) would fit your “I like liberal areas” point - it’s not as liberal as it used to be or its reputation would have you believe, but yeah, it’s liberal. Not to damper things, but not all US colleges are liberal.
(3) the climate is mild (not too hot)
(4) i know they’ve got a strong communications/journalism department.

#3 is the only clincher but you can head to Tahoe for the trees and snow. If you have to live amongst the leaves and slush, look into any school that’s near Boston. That’s the second place I’d recommend that would fulfill your wish list. It’s always a fantastic city to experience American history & life.

I wish I had done exchange programs in college. Good luck to you!

Somehow I missed that you were in Journalism. Northwestern University (north of Chicago) is one of the top (if not THE top) journalism programs. Look up “Medill School of Journalism” IIRC you have to apply directly through Medill if you want to study Journalism. I would have gone there if I hadn’t been <sniff> rejected. It meets a lot of your requirements:

1.Small city (Evanston) with a major city (Chicago) nearby (commuter rail runs there and back).
2. Gets a real Real Winter. Oh baby, do they ever. In the spring when it hits 50F (15 C?) they’re wearing shorts. You’ll learn all about snow boots and “layering.”
3. Its sorta in the middle. You can fly from Chicago to both coasts relatively quickly.
4. Pizza! (That wasn’t one of your requirements?)

Another top school for Journalism is the University of Mississippi (AKA “Ole Miss”) which wasn’t on your list either.

I’m only very mildly connected to Clemson (one parent went there), but I can tell you that it’s in South Carolina and fairly rural South Carolina at that. Don’t know much more about it.

Denver and Santa Fe, huh? What’s Albuquerque, chopped liver? Seriously, Santa Fe is an overpriced tourist trap and the only school there besides the one for the deaf is St. Johns. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend UNM unless the OP was interested in Hispanic Studies, as I personally am not a big fan of UNM, however I don’t know how the Communications and Journalims departments are. Then again, I wouldn’t recommend NMSU either.

See, there are reasons I go to school out of state. And not to a big university either.

I think you may mean “University at Buffalo.” UB and Buff State are easy to confuse, as I did when I first moved here. UB is the big, well-known one.

If I may make a humble suggestion, I would mention my alma mater, University of Toronto. Yes, I know it’s in Canada, not the US. But it matches all the qualifications you have…plus you would have a shot at a Commonwealth Scholarship, which is not offered at any American institution.

And butrscotch phthpthpthp!!! Snow all winter…it was only 100 inches this year…

If Duke is right and you really meant State University of New York at Buffalo rather than State University of New York Colllege at Buffalo aka Buff State, I can answer some questions. I graduated from UB. If not, nevermind.

I noticed that Indiana University wasn’t on your list. If that’s because your college doesn’t have a program in conjunction with us, then ignore the rest of this post.

Basically, it seems to fit all/most of your requirements fairly well. We have an excellent journalism school (#1 college newspaper in the country). We have a very good “college town” atmosphere going on. Indianapolis is about an hour away, Chicago, Cincinatti, and St. Louis are a bit further. It’s very temperate here (negative single digits (F) in the winter and 90s to 100s in the summer). It seems to be pretty liberal here, though diversity is sort of odd: very few Latin-Americans and African-Americans, quite a large homosexual population.

Anyhow, like I said, if your University doesn’t even have a program with us, then disregard all of the above. More information if requested.

Hey, I live in a town where it snowed once back in 1983 long enough to last overnight. I’ve never lived where we got more than about 36 inches of snow all winter. Only 100 inches is an awful lot to inflict on somebody who’s never had to deal with it before!

My vote goes to Pitt. I had a game there this year and it was a great time. The bars are awesome, and the students were friendly to us Western Michigan kids. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the academic programs at the university.

Ohio, as a whole, should be avoided like the plague. God hates Ohio, as do the residents of the other 49 States. Every resident of the state recently sold their soul in exchange for a National Championship in Football at Ohio State University. The only city worth visiting, Toledo, will soon be annexed to its rightful state, Michigan, voiding any reason one might have to go to this dreadful place.

Indiana, if it is an option, is a great school in a great town. However, outside of Bloomington, there is a large amount of nothing until Indianapolis. Again, the atmosphere was great when I was there six weeks ago, and the students were very friendly to us.

If you meant SUNY-Buffalo, and not Buffalo State, as some have suggested, avoid it. UB students are nearly as cocky and arrogant as University of Michigan students.